THE PALE BLUE EYE period mystery review

The unsettling atmosphere will transport, while the macabre mystery intrigues. Scott Cooper’s The Pale Blue Eye is both a period murder-mystery drama and serves as an imaginative origin story for Edgar Allan Poe. With skeletons in every character’s closet, the enigma of a mystery will beckon audiences to solve the mystery along with Christian Bale’s character. Based on the novel by the same name, the film adaptation is in the same vein as The Cursed from earlier this year and Antlers from last year. Both of which are among my favorites of the last two years. So, if you liked either of those films, you will mostly likely enjoy this one as well. In addition to the aforementioned, the film also reminds me a little of Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (1999). Unlike the film’s to which I have likened this one, The Pale Blue Eye is heavier on mystery than it is horror. While Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories and poems have been the inspiration for hundreds of films, and his writing itself, foundational in the development of the American Horror Film (expressionism+surrealism+Freud+Poe), this is one of few films that feature Poe himself–or rather–a fictionalized version of the towering literary figure. What I appreciate about this imaginative origin story is showing a different side to Poe–a side that is actually funny and quirky. Because this is a mystery, I am unable to discuss details as that could spoil important plot points. But it’s important to note that this film’s mise-en-scene strikes a balance between one that is concerned with atmosphere and proper plotting. So often, films that are heavy on atmosphere are lacking in the story-structure department, but not this one. Despite the runtime of 2-hours, no scene ever lingers too long. If you enjoy period murder-mysteries, then you’ll undoubtedly enjoy this film. The Pale Blue Eye hits cinemas on December 23rd and Netflix on January 6th.

Ryan teaches Film Studies and Screenwriting at the University of Tampa and is a member of the Critics Association of Central Florida. If you like this article, check out the others and FOLLOW this blog! Interested in Ryan making a guest appearance on your podcast or contributing to your website? Send him a DM on Twitter. If you’re ever in Tampa or Orlando, feel free to catch a movie with him.

Follow him on Twitter: RLTerry1

AMSTERDAM movie mini-review

There is a fascinating true story and great movie…in there…somewhere. David O. Russell’s star-studded Amsterdam is a bloated, poorly paced movie that places far more emphasis on repetitive, pedantic social commentary than it does on lean storytelling and strategic plotting. If not for the powerhouse cast, the movie would be nearly unwatchable. A litmus test I give a movie is (1) if I look at my watch and (2) if so, how often. If I am looking at the time, then I am not engrossed in the story. And I looked at my watch many times during this lengthy quasi-historical drama. Amsterdam demonstrably has little idea or security in what it wants to be. Is it a dark comedy? Is it a drama? Is it satire? All valid questions for which there is no clear answer, because it struggles to find the proper tone that best expresses its story. Although the social commentary on race relations quickly becomes redundant, it does highlight some areas of wartime history of which many, including myself, are likely unaware. Such as soldiers of color being forced to wear French uniforms–had no idea! So I am glad that this disrespectful chapter in history was highlighted for modern audiences. Clearly this movie should have been an Oscar vehicle for Russell, his cast, and crew, From beginning to end, it’s easy to read this film as a desperate attempt to win over general audiences and critics by convincing them that there is something to see here; unfortunately, what should have been an incredibly interesting mystery and untold true story suffocates under the poorly written and structured screenplay.

Ryan teaches Film Studies and Screenwriting at the University of Tampa and is a member of the Critics Association of Central Florida. If you like this article, check out the others and FOLLOW this blog! Interested in Ryan making a guest appearance on your podcast or contributing to your website? Send him a DM on Twitter. If you’re ever in Tampa or Orlando, feel free to catch a movie with him.

Follow him on Twitter: RLTerry1

“The Big Short” movie review

BigShortThe scariest non-horror movie ever! Paramount Pictures’ The Big Short, based on the best selling novel by Michael Lewis, is the star-studded film that meticulously recreates the course of events that led to the worst financial crisis to hit the United States, and by extension the world, since the Great Depression. It isn’t often that when I leave a movie that I instantly feel like I need to watch it again, but this is definitely one of them! Furthermore, this is a fantastic film to show any business or financial class on the graduate level. Brilliantly casted and directed, this film will have your utmost attention the entire time. In fact, when it’s over, you will most likely want it to go on. Screenwriters Adam McKay (also the director) and Charles Randolph create a movie with such realism and candor that you will be able to truly understand the foundational problems that aided in creating the mortgage-backed security crisis which led to the housing meltdown and the loss of millions of jobs. The scariest part is, at the end of the movie, you will read that starting in 2015 that big banks are once again engaging in similar behaviors under a new name. The utter greed, absurdity, and naivety on display in this movie will leave you astounded.

The Bg Short is a biographical documentary-like drama that goes behind the headlines and years before the height of the financial crisis (now referred to as the Great Recession) and reveals the actions of big banks and front-line mortgage officers alike that contributed and eventually causes the housing meltdown. After one major hedge fund investor discovers that the big banks are buying up and selling bad mortgages, he takes actions that create a ripple effect amongst a small group of hedge fund financial investors that begin to sound the alarm that big banks refused to listen and believe. Against the odds, this small group of investors attempt to warn the big banks that the US financial system, and by extension the world, is in grave danger. This film follows several key players in this movement and sheds light on what was really happening behind closed doors.

If you want to gain a better understanding of what caused the housing meltdown and financial crisis, then plan to see this movie. Or, if you are just looking for a fantastic movie with suspense, mystery, and action, then plant see this movie. It is of no surprise as to how this movie has received Oscar nominations. The phenomenal cast brought these recent historical figures to life in only a way that a cinematic story can do. Full of intellectual action, this movie successfully delivers a powerful message with a brilliant story. Many times, the best stories are true ones, and it doesn’t really get any truer or more visceral than this one. Not often can a movie capture a historic series of events with such accuracy whilst delivering a cinematic experience. More than a documentary, this film possesses a brilliant approach to the visual storytelling of a real modern-day crisis that isn’t that far removed from today.

The combination of mostly an objective perspective with a healthy helping of subjective points-of-view makes this a unique experience. Watching this movie, I couldn’t help but imagine that t almost plays out as something fabricated, made up for a gripping and dynamic plot; but the fact of the matter is that this really happened. Moreover, if the big banks continue in their ways and not learn from their mistakes, it could happen again. Although this is definitely a visually driven story, there are times that there is commentary or further information in the form of text or actors breaking the fourth wall. Ordinarily, I don’t typically like moves where the characters speak directly to the camera or audience, but the manner run which the asides were written into this movie worked extremely well.

I will keep this review short because I definitely want to encourage people who want to gain a better understanding of the financial crisis to see this movie and experience it for themselves. You will definitely not be disappointed.